Rich with history, spirit and civic pride, the Town of Kernersville, NC is well-known for having beautifully landscaped parks that provide a wide variety of recreational activities. Centrally located between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, the Town has become a major tourist attraction in Forsyth County due to its hosting of popular recreation events and athletic tournaments.
To continue attracting regional economic development and keep up with future recreation needs of the community, the Town teamed with CPL to provide advanced planning and schematic design for a new recreation center at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex.
Since its grand opening in 2001, the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex has become home to the Kernersville Soccer Association, and hosts an abundance of adult softball leagues, youth soccer leagues, high school athletic events, and even Division I collegiate cross country meets. Knowing how important the park already is to the community, CPL was eager to develop a conceptual plan for a facility that would integrate with the park’s existing site and capitalize on its distinguished recreational program offering.
The first step in the project required a large, in-depth community engagement effort that included a series of focus group meetings, targeted public outreach sessions, and interactive voting kiosks.
“Any time we help spearhead community engagement efforts like this, our goal is to gain as much insight from the public as possible,” explained Rachel Nilson, AIA, CPL Architect and Project Manager. “Especially when we’re designing a space for the community to eventually use, it is essential that we directly engage with members of that community to fully understand their unique needs and desires for that new space.”
The team’s community engagement efforts drew in more than 450 participants of various age brackets and demographics – an outstanding voter turnout by any Town’s standards. As a result, CPL was able to identify overarching community preferences for the facility’s design such as the need for indoor basketball courts, areas for public gatherings, and ample space to host a variety of the Kernersville Parks and Recreation department’s current and proposed program offerings.
“The feedback from our community engagement effort with the Town was pivotal for us as designers,” said Nilson. “It allowed us to confidently produce a schematic design for the new building that not only integrates with the current recreational activities happening at Ivey Redmon, but also helps facilitate long-term use of the site.”
The future location of the building, near the front entrance of the park, will minimize disruption to the site’s current cross country trails and fields used for baseball, softball and soccer games. Additionally, this strategic location will allow for easy visibility and patron access as well as future building expansion.
Furthermore, the CPL team worked with Harold Owen, President at O&L Associates, to provide the Town of Kernersville with an overall phased, project budget that accounts for multiple funding and construction scenarios.
“Our job is never to just design a facility,” said Nilson. “We pride ourselves on being full-service advisors who are not only capable of designing functional and flexible facilities, but who are also determined to provide the necessary information on the financial impact of such facilities. That full investment from a team is what helps set Town’s like Kernersville up for long-term success.”
Driven by a shared love of sport and recreation, the collaboration between the CPL team and the Town of Kernersville has proven to be successful. In early November 2020, the Town’s Board of Alderman unanimously approved the facility’s conceptual plan. Next steps to finalizing a final project schedule are currently underway.
“Understanding the community’s vision was the focus of our job from day one. We’re thrilled to move forward with a plan to give the Town of Kernersville a high value building that promises the most flexible use of space and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle for all.”
CPL is currently applying similar recreational design leadership and expertise for communities throughout North Carolina including Moore County, the City of Belmont, the City of New Bern and the City of Thomasville.